The UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has begun recruiting talent from top universities in an attempt to tighten up cyber-security within the United Kingdom.
One of three UK-based Intelligence agencies, the GCHQ focuses on national intelligence and security. It currently places cybercrime and attacks at the top of its risk assessments, alongside terrorism and military crisis.
8 universities have been awarded £50,000 each ($79,100) with a promise of further funding. Each university has been awarded the title of an "Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research".
David Willetts, Universities and Science Minister, commented:
"Britain has one of the largest online economies in the world and a growing cyber security sector. Supporting universities to carry out more research and training skilled graduates to work in the cyber security industry will help build further confidence in doing business online."
The universities issues these awards are:
- The University of Bristol
- University of Southampton
- Imperial College London
- Lancaster University
- Queen's University Belfast
- Royal Holloway
- University College London
- University of Oxford
Each university will be expected to collaborate and work with the GCHQ in cyber-defense research across the economy as a whole -- working to improve security in government, business and consumer infrastructure.
It is also hoped that by including Higher Education establishments in the early stages of researching and improving cyber-security, more graduates can be trained and employed within this industry.
A GCHQ spokesman said:
"GCHQ's recognition of eight Universities as Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research underlines our conviction in the vital role that academia has to play in nurturing future cyber security talent to support the UK's prosperity in our cyber age."
The scheme to recognize and promote university-based security research is the first in a number of initiatives outlined in 'Protecting and Promoting the UK in a Digital World', the UK government's updated National Cyber Security strategy.
Further planned developments include the establishment of a new research center focused on cyber-security, and the sponsorship of PhD student research projects.
Image credit: Don Hankins
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